A few things have transpired which have changed my plans… nothing too bad or anything, just changed… so, here is some info on the new plans as well as the reason for them.
The main problem had to do with the evil empire. The American Embassy in Bangkok is truly unbelievable… while countries like Canada and Mexico have their Embassy in a small suite in a high rise building, the American Embassy in Bangkok is surrounded by barricades, barbed wire and a plethora of guards and spans over an entire city block… behind the gates you can see huge, manicured lawns, tennis courts, and Jane even told me they have a golf driving range.
The main reason this is funny is that an Embassy of this size, you would think, would be indicative of the wealth of a country… however, as you should know by now, the US is the most bankrupt, broke country on the planet, by every quantifiable measuring stick.
Even as I write, the US has sent their head of the Treasury AND the Federal Reserve chief to China to BEG them not to bankrupt the country… China owns more US dollars than any other country (over $1 trillion now, and growing by the day) and if (when) China decides to stop lending money to the US, the whole game falls apart and the US will be yet another empire for the scrap heap… that day may have actually come on Monday, when the US dollar dropped nearly 2 cents, spurring the emergency visit.
At the same time, Cheney and Bush are panicking in the Middle East as they have lost all control of the Iraq situation and the evil duo are going around to a number of countries there this week to try to bribe their governments to support them… another mission which will be futile as Iran will basically take over most of the Gulf now… it couldn’t have worked out better for Iran… the US comes in and spends hundreds of billions destroying Iraq and leaving it so decimated that all Iran has to do is walk in, clean up, and take over… nice job Dubbyah…
Anyway, back to my story, the reason I had to go to the American Embassy is because I was planning to fly Jane to the US and Mexico when I went there and she needs a visa to go to the US (and practically every other country in the world except neighboring Asian countries and Brazil).
You wouldn’t believe the amount of work it is for a Thai person to get the honor of going to the US for a vacation… first you have to apply on the internet, buy a PIN #, for $15, fill out numerous forms and then apply for an appointment… the appointment date is at least a few weeks later… then you go to a post office, buy a bank draft for $100 (a LOT of money for many Thais) payable to the United Empire of America, just for the honor of having them talk to you. Then you have to go through metal detectors, turn off your cell phone, fill out more forms when inside… then buy an envelope to return your passport in later for $1, sit in a room with about 100 other people and wait 1-2 hours for them to call your number.
After all this, they said no. They said because Jane wasn’t going to university fulltime and didn’t have a fulltime job that she had ‘nothing’ to ensure she would come back to Thailand. I pointed out that she had numerous visas in her passport from all over the world (China, Russia, Indonesia, Myanmar etc…) from other trips we had taken together but they said that wasn’t good enough.
It’s too bad Thai people are so nice, because I would love it when in 10 years, when the US is completely gutted and a bankrupt warzone that no one would even want to go near, and Thailand is doing very well as Asia becomes the next economic powerhouse (it already is actually), if they would put up a big giant embassy in the US and make Americans go through hoops for the opportunity to go to Thailand. But they won’t, they are too nice and welcoming.
Just fyi and btw, I don’t hate Americans… I just dislike the Empire their unbelievably corrupt government is trying to perpetrate on the planet right now and can’t believe not many people have noticed yet that they are not a rich superpower, but a completely broke and soon to be completely toothless (good luck paying for any of that gigantic military when the dollar collapses) country…
Anyway, due to this, I changed my plans.
Here is the general plan:
I will now go to the Philippines in mid December with Jane to Boracay to check it out again for a prospective bar location… and then, depending on an Australian visa application for Jane, maybe go to Australia for a bit until around new year… at which point I will likely then take off for South America for a month or so and Jane will go back to Bangkok.
Also in the interesting news category, I may reneg on my statement that “I will never buy a place or stay in one spot more than a few weeks, ever again” soon. Why?
Well, the last few months I keep noticing how things in Bangkok are really getting good… it just seems to be getting better and better all the time here, in every respect. And I keep discovering things about this place that amaze me. For example, yesterday Jane took me to a mall I hadn’t been to before… it is called the Siam Paragon. It was really unbelievable… it had a Ferrari store in it, a Lamborghini store, was incredibly nicely designed… chandeliers… has movie theatres in it with full lounges, discos etc in the theatre for you to hang out while you await the movie. It had an Imax theatre that was the nicest one I had ever been to…
Not that I really care about malls and theaters and stuff, but my point is that Bangkok has everything you could ever want in a city, and in many cases, it is nicer, cooler and better than ANYWHERE else in the world… and the best part, the prices are still VERY reasonable. Even at this super cool, trendy, massive theatre, I paid $13 for the tickets for Jane and I (so about $6.50 each… if we went to a normal non-Imax theatre the cost is $3 each) and the popcorn and drinks and everything only cost $4… for a total of $17… in the US that would probably be about double…
But I don’t expect prices to stay this way (for Americans)… the US dollar will almost certainly devalue by about 50% in the next year or two, which would bring the prices more inline with other places for those who have their currency in USD (a big mistake).
So, anyway, every week I am amazed by Bangkok and more and more I keep finding myself loving this place.. it really is the perfect city for me at this point in time… it has everything I love, and does it better than anywhere else, for half the cost (or less) than anywhere else…
So tomorrow I am going apartment shopping… I am looking at buying a condo in Bangkok as an investment both economically and psychologically…
To give you an indication of what I am looking at, check out this URL. I am also looking at some new developments, see them here. Check out the Manhattan and Watermark development… some really cool, ultra modern designs… also notice that the Fullerton was completed six months ahead of schedule, something unheard of in over-budget, under-quality North Americuh… everything just works better in Asia.
The first apartment I listed is in the dead center of the city… it is right next door to that Siam Paragon mall… check out the view on that link, it is right beside a golf course and a horse race track (I didn’t even know they had a horse race track until I saw this picture… I tell you, every week in Bangkok I find out new things that surprise me about what they have here).
It comes fully furnished (most condos come that way here, which I think is great… why move furniture every time you want to move??).. the furniture looks decent at this one (although I’d replace a few things, like the couches with more modern ones) for 8.5 million baht, which works out to about $200,000 USD… which is very expensive for here but it is a very high end building in the best location in town, so that is why.
Sooooo… ya, I am sure most of you are shocked that I am actually looking to buy a place… but ya, I am…. after being in and around Bangkok for nearly a year now, I have decided that I will not be getting bored of this place anytime soon and am resigned to the fact that if I spent half my year here I would have no problem with that at all.
Yup, the times they are a changing…
But don’t despair, I cannot and will not just rot here forever… as my travel plans over the next few months show, I am still intent on seeing much more of the planet, having more adventures and engaging in future enterprises in interesting and fun places and sectors, so don’t worry, the show will go on even if I buy a few more things than would fit into my one backpack and spent part of my time in one spot.